The Pioneers Swim Strong in Regional Swim Championship

Kevin Vera

The Pioneers placed ninth of 13 at the Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference, the season closer.

First-year head coach Ben Loorz of the CSU East Bay women’s swim team concludes his first season with the program as the team heads into the offseason.

With a strong performance during their season closer during the Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference (PCSC) Championship in Long Beach, the team placed ninth out of 13, beating out the competition among them, including Vanguard, Soka, Biola and Chapman Universities.

To reach this level of progress in just one season, the team improved substantially under new leadership, both physically and mentally.

“Athletically, the team has really come a long way,” said Loorz. “If you look at our times from the beginning of the season compared with this past weekend at the Conference Championships, you will notice a huge improvement.”

“We were really excited by the fact that we had 100 percent season-best performances at the championship meet,” said Loorz. “That’s the goal, to construct the season so that you reach peak performance at the right time.”

Throughout much of the season the swimmers’ times improved, from their first matchup against UC Santa Cruz to the their optimum performance at the PCSC Championship.

“Sociologically, the team is a much tighter group,” said Loorz. “They hardly knew each other at all when we did our first team bonding activity back in September, and now they really care for each other and support each other, like a team should.”

Despite coaching a team not built from scratch, coach Loorz led the women’s swim team to a victory against Mills College, and was the driving force behind the team’s respectable effort that landed them seventh in the UNLV Invitational, and, most recently, ninth in the PCSC Championship.

Several aspects of coaching a team are onerous, yet Loorz and coaching assistant Jenna Wesley administered a formidable approach to turn this swimming team into a championship contender in coming years.

“The challenges were no more or less than those that any head coach faces: trying to instill a certain culture, to motivate the athletes to work hard, and to achieve as highly as possible,” Loorz said.

Throughout the season, several players improved their times on their way to breaking personal and team records, and, in junior Murphy Wimer’s case, individual school records.

“Murphy Wimer was our standout performer, finishing in the top three in all of her individual events at the PCSC Championships,” said Loorz. “She also broke five individual school records, and was on the relay team that broke a record as well.”

With a promising future led by Wimer, the team plans on expanding, and looks to bolster their current roster.

“It is important that we are able to field a larger team, so we are really trying to bring in a large class of athletes in the fall,” said Loorz. “Also, we will attempt to improve the aerobic capacity of the team over the next couple of months.”

Losing only one player to graduation this year, Loorz is lucky to have the majority of his team return, raising expectations even higher.

“I expect all of the athletes to continue to improve and take their game to the next level,” said Loorz. “That is the bedrock philosophy of our team: constant improvement.”